Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Congratulations to ASDCA Kevin Gilligan

Last week, Assistant Supervising Deputy City Attorney (ASDCA) Kevin Gilligan was recognized for his work improving South Los Angeles. St. Michael’s Church bestowed the First “Guardian Angel Award” to ASDCA Gilligan at a ceremony in South Los Angeles.

The neighborhood around the church has a crime rate that is 10 times the national average. Over the past several years, ASDCA Gilligan has created and coordinated a joint City-County task force with LAPD and the LA County Sheriff’s Department and code enforcement agencies that has significantly reduced blight and crime along the LA City and LA County border next to St. Michael’s Church.

Former Mayor Richard Riordan, LAPD Commander Patrick Gannon, LAFD Captain Cook and several community members also received awards.

Our congratulations and thanks to Kevin for his continued work on behalf of the residents of South Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Restitution Checks to be Handed out Tomorrow in "28-Day Shuffle" Case

Tomorrow, Thursday, September 25th, between 1:30 to 5:30 pm, restitution checks will be passed out at the James M. Wood Community Center to identified victims of the Skid Row residential hotel owner Rob Frontiera's unscrupulous business tactics. The restitution checks are the result of the City Attorney’s lawsuit, which alleged that some tenants at the Frontier and Rosslyn Hotels (Frontiera's properties) were evicted without being paid legally required relocation assistance while others were unlawfully moved every 28 days or so in order to deny them legal rights - a practice known as the “28-Day Shuffle”.

The Special Litigation Unit of the City Attorney’s Office reached a settlement for the victims that includes a restitution fund that will be used to pay full relocation restitution owed to former tenants of the Frontier Hotel who had been in occupancy for more than thirty days and were required or persuaded to terminate their residency as part of a partially implemented renovation of the property.

Approximately 30 of the 60-plus people who applied for money under the settlement will be coming in to pick up their checks at the James M. Wood Community Center tomorrow while the remaining victims have asked for their checks to be mailed to them.

Following through with the City Attorney’s commitment to set things right for the Frontier and Rosslyn victims, a claims administrator from the case will be on hand to ensure the smooth delivery of the restitution checks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gangs and Prostitution

Since 2002, more than 1,000 prostitutes have been arrested in the Figueroa Corridor and prosecuted by City Attorney Delgadillo’s Neighborhood Prosecutors.

Recognizing the “revolving door” of recidivism couldn’t be stopped with mere suppression, the Neighborhood Prosecutors knew that something more needed to be done to stem the tide of prostitution along the Corridor. First, the City Attorney’s Office targeted 20 nuisance properties for narcotics abatement. Because drug activity is directly linked to many prostitution cases, the nuisance abatement actions resulted in the reduction of prostitution-related crimes at these locations by 65%.

Continuing on this success, in May, the Office announced the filing of a groundbreaking lawsuit seeking to prevent five pimps and 36 chronic prostitutes from operating in the Figueroa Corridor. Known as the Pimp and Prostitute injunction, these nuisance abatement actions are used throughout Los Angeles to target specific pimps and prostitutes who have repeatedly returned to neighborhood corners despite law enforcement efforts to stop them.

Pimps who are also gang members use their gang profits to finance other illegal and often violent criminal activities. When involved in prostitution, they are also more violent toward the prostitutes they control.

They are more likely to punch, to assault or to kidnap these women and they impose arbitrary rules on the prostitutes in order to maintain dominance. Some even go so far as to brand the women with pieces of searing hot metal.

This Office’s work with LAPD on the Figueroa Corridor injunction has led other Neighborhood Prosecutor’s around the City to investigate the connection between gangs and prostitution.

In August, LAPD officers observed three women exit a vehicle driven by a male and attack a woman and her child. When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, the victim advised the officers that the male in the vehicle was a pimp and that she had previously refused to work as a prostitute for him.

In retaliation, he had the three women assist him in attacking the woman and her child. In fact, the three women kicked the child of the victim hard enough to knock the child to the ground.

During the attack, the women referenced the Rolling 40’s, a notorious criminal street gang featured in the LAPD’s 2007 list of the top ten most dangerous gangs in the City. The reference by these women to the gang during the attack was an indication of gang membership.

The City Attorney’s Gangs Division determined that all defendants, including the male driver, were Rolling 40’s gang members and that the male had previously been served with a Rolling 40’s gang injunction.

Because the male defendant had been discretely directing activities behind the scenes with both his pimping operation and gang activities, he had, to date, no significant record other than being a known pimp.

Despite a witness who gave a statement to the police on the scene later refusing to appear in court, the gang prosecutor proceeded with the case – which ultimately resulted in both the male and the female attackers pleading to several different counts, including Child Endangerment, Pimping, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and violation of a gang injunction.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Child Abuse Policy Division Update

The City Attorney's Director of Child Abuse Policy has been invited to join the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) review team as a permanent member.

The SCAN team, created by statute in the California Penal Code, is a multi-disciplinary panel of experts established by a hospital and consisting of health care professionals and representatives of law enforcement and child protective services. Essentially, the team is composed of community members actively engaged in the proper identification and documentation of child abuse cases. The team meets weekly at the hospital to review the child abuse and neglect cases processed by any of the UCLA hospitals during the proceeding week.

The UCLA team is led by UCLA Pediatric Medical Director and Professor Claudia Wang, MD and is made up of representatives from the UCLA Clinical Social Work department, pediatric nurses and doctors, Child Life development staff, Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), UCLA emergency room staff, University Police, LAPD and consulting physicians from Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and Orange County.

The SCAN team serves as a systematic way of examining the strengths and weaknesses of the hospital response to child abuse and neglect cases and drives policy, protocol and research agendas. In addition, the purpose of personnel disclosing child abuse reports to SCAN teams is to prevent child abusers from attempting to hide the pattern of abuse by taking a child to different hospitals for treatment.

In addition, the City Attorney's Child Abuse Policy Division has created and distributed child abuse screening cards for medical and health care personnel to use when child abuse and neglect cases present in a medical setting.

The 4 x 7 laminated cards were distributed to attendees of the City Attorney's Health Care Summit in May and have been given to pediatric doctors and nurses during training at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA as well as the UCLA Emergency Room staff to aid in the identification and screening of child abuse and neglect cases.